On one hand, it is easy to say "don't blow up the Celtics" the night after they demolished and demoralized a very good Orlando Magic team, looking like the defensive juggernaut that struck fear in the league over the last few years. On the other hand, some of us have been saying this all along.
Don't blow up the Celtics. Not until the offseason at least.
I've been passing along rumors and proposing trades - most of which I don't really even like - all week and the same thing keeps occurring to me. There just isn't a good match between teams that would want our stars (contenders) and teams that have things that we'd want (young talent and expiring contracts).
Think about it, if the best you can do by selling off the team is getting stuck with guys with bad contracts, than what's the point? Why sign up for 3 to 5 years of paying a rook or a bishop like a king or queen? Just because Rondo is underpaid doesn't mean you have to go out and overpay for someone to play with him.
Or, let us just say for the sake of argument, that Danny is convinced one or more of those overpaid guys can find their groove here in Boston and live up to their contract. Great, go ahead and bring him in... this summer. He'll still be available and you can simply absorb his contract in exchange for a heavily protected 2nd round pick (and the other team will even get a trade exception to use within a year). And here's the beauty of it - since this is a fallback plan, you can take that route after assessing any number of other plans first. Why jump at the backup plan before you even get a chance to see through plans A, B, and C?
Sure, there's a very, very good chance that Dwight Howard (and Deron Williams) will not be headed to Boston in the summer. But there's still a chance. Why not take the time to make that pitch to him? You just never know.
If that doesn't work out, there are still countless ways to use that valuable cap space. Danny himself admitted that it is going to be even more valuable with this CBA than it was in the past. Someone is going to go after those big fish free agents and that process always shakes free some quality talent for reasonable prices. You can also go after guys that otherwise would have to settle for the mid level exception, except you can offer them just a little bit more (see David West).
David Aldridge mentioned that the Celtics have no interest in building through the draft. I can't blame them. That process is long, difficult, and prone to errors that could set back a club years. For every Thunder type success stories there are several Wizards tales of woe. That doesn't mean the Celtics can't selectively pursue young talent through the draft. I just don't see it as their best option to get back to contending for titles.
Going back to the chess analogy; if there are no kings to pay, then you can still pick up a few knights and draft a few guys that might someday develop into something more than pawns. You might just build up enough assets to trade them for kings and queens again. If you blow all your cap space on a guy that will never be more than a bishop, you've doomed yourself to the same mediocrity that made those guys available in the first place (see Atlanta Hawks).
So, once again, my heart is telling me not to break up the Celtics that I love. And wouldn't you know it, my head is telling me the same thing. Maybe, just maybe, this team has one more run left in them. That would be epic in itself. And if not, well, we'll at least have a nice victory lap with them before we start the rebuilding in earnest this summer. But all things in due time.